Samsung takes top spot in handset battle

Korean vendor Samsung been crowned as the number one handset vendor, displacing Nokia after its 14-year reign.

Following a strong performance in the first quarter of 2012, research firm Strategy Analytics estimated that Samsung shipped 93.5 million handsets, taking 25.4 per cent of the global mobile phone market. Nokia sold 82.7 million phones and had 22.5 per cent of the market, followed by Apple’s 9.5 per cent.

IHS iSuppli said that its research agreed Samsung had ousted Nokia as the market leader in the handset space.

“Samsung in the first quarter overtook Nokia to become the world’s largest cellphone brand for the first time. However, Samsung remained in second place in the smartphone segment of the cellphone market, behind Apple,” the company wrote.

The Korean electronics vendor published its quarterly earnings for 1Q12, which revealed it had amassed 45.27 trillion Won (£39.9bn) in revenue, recording a net profit of 5.05 trillion Won. Revenue increased 22 per cent year on year, while net profit increased 81 per cent.

“Samsung’s surpassing of Nokia for cellphone market leadership represents not only a changing of the guard among handset brands but also a fundamental shift in the structure of the wireless market,” said Ian Fogg, senior principal analyst, mobile for IHS.

“Cellphone market growth is now being generated exclusively by the smartphone segment, and not by the feature phones, entry-level cellphones and ultra-low-cost handsets (ULCH) that had fueled the industry’s expansion over the previous decade.Samsung has successfully ridden the wave of smartphone adoption to attain market leadership. Meanwhile, Nokia is in the midst of transitioning its smartphone strategy, resulting in declining shipments for the company.”

Nokia recently posted its quarterly results which revealed it had slumped to an operating loss of €1.34bn for 1Q12.

The Finnish firm blamed “greater than expected competitive challenges and seasonality” for posting net sales of just €7.4bn, down from the €10.4bn it posted in the first quarter of last year. Sales in the smartphone space stood at just 12 million units in 1Q12, less than half of the 24.2 million it shipped in 1Q11.

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